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J Clin Oncol. 1999 Jan;17(1):150-7.

Prognostic factors for the outcome of chemotherapy in advanced soft tissue sarcoma: an analysis of 2,185 patients treated with anthracycline-containing first-line regimens--a European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group Study.

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  • 1European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Data Center, Brussels, Belgium.



A total of 2,185 patients with advanced soft tissue sarcomas who had been treated in seven clinical trials investigating the use of doxorubicin- or epirubicin-containing regimens as first-line chemotherapy were studied in this prognostic-factor analysis.


Overall survival time (median, 51 weeks) and response to chemotherapy (26% complete response or partial response) were the two end points. The cofactors were sex; age; performance status; prior therapies; the presence of locoregional or recurrent disease; lung, liver, and bone metastases at the time of entry onto the trial; long time period between the initial diagnosis of sarcoma and entry onto the study; and histologic type and grade.


Univariate analyses showed (a) a significant, favorable influence of good performance status, young age, and absence of liver metastases on both survival time and response rate, (b) a significant, favorable influence of low histopathologic disease grade on survival time, despite a significantly lower response rate, (c) increased survival time for patients with a long time period between the initial diagnosis of sarcoma and entry onto the study, despite equivalent response rates, and (d) increased survival time with liposarcoma or synovial sarcoma, a decreased survival time with malignant fibrous histiocytoma, a lower response rate with leiomyosarcoma, and a higher response rate with liposarcoma (P < .05 for all log-rank and chi2 tests). The Cox model selected good performance status (P < .0001), absence of liver metastases (P = .0001), low histopathologic grade (P = .0002), long time lapse since initial diagnosis (P = .0004), and young age (P = .0045) as favorable prognostic factors of survival time. The logistic model selected absence of liver metastases (P < .0001), young age (P = .0024), high histopathologic grade (P = .0051), and liposarcoma (P = .0065) as favorable prognostic factors of response rate.


This analysis demonstrates that for advanced soft tissue sarcoma, response to chemotherapy is not predicted by the same factors as is overall survival time. This needs to be taken into account in the interpretation of trials assessing the value of new agents for this disease on the basis of response to treatment.

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